Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop
June 16-21, 2024
The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York
Join a community of writers, improve your craft, and reimagine how you think about nature. Guided by award-winning instructors, the Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop provides an intimate space to connect with writers, artists, and editors, spark creativity, and renew, illuminate, and deepen your relationship with place. This week-long workshop is cosponsored by the Omega Center for Sustainable Living.
Whether your passion is nonfiction, fiction, or poetry, the Orion Environmental Writers’ Workshop is a creative laboratory for anyone seeking to reflect their environments through their work. The course features breakout sessions dedicated to intensive craft practice, faculty readings and lectures, student readings, and panels on publishing.
Workshops seats will be limited in size so that each participant receives individualized attention, feedback, and focused time with faculty members and Orion editors to discuss whatever is on their minds. Throughout the week, literary agents and editors will stop by for panels and conversations to answer questions and offer advice on bringing out your work in the publishing world.
HOW TO APPLY
The application period is open from February 1 – May 1, 2024.
A link to apply will appear here when the window opens.
The early bird rate registration deadline is March 15. The final registration deadline is May 10th.
Workshops will be offered in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Please submit a cover letter and sample of your work through Submittable. For prose, please send a 1,000 – 1,500 word writing sample; for poetry, send up to six pages of poetry.
Acceptances will be made on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified whether they have been admitted within a few of weeks of applying.
Note that a variety of housing options at different price points are available at the Omega Institute. Those who apply earlier will be able to choose their housing sooner. Some housing options may sell out faster than others.
Some financial aid is available but in limited numbers. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss, or include a statement of need in your cover letter. **NOTE: The deadline for scholarship consideration is March 1st.**
More questions related to Orion workshops? Contact us.
Poet, essayist, and naturalist Alison Hawthorne Deming is the author of six books of poetry and five books of nonfiction, most recently A Woven World: On Fashion, Fishermen, and the Sardine Dress and Stairway to Heaven. Her forthcoming books are Blue Flax, a poetry collection from Red Hen Press, and The Gift of Animals, an anthology of poems from Storey. Her awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowships, the Stegner Fellowship from Stanford, the Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship, and the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her writing has been widely published and anthologized, including in The Norton Book of Nature Writing, and twice in Best American Science and Nature Writing. Former director of the University of Arizona Poetry Center and chair of the Agnese Nelms Haury Program for Environment and Social Justice, she is regents professor emerita at the University of Arizona. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada.
Alexandra Kleeman is the author of the novel Something New Under the Sun, one of the New York Times’ “100 Notable Books” of 2021; Intimations, a short story collection; and the novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine, which was awarded the 2016 Bard Fiction Prize and was a New York Times Editor’s Choice. In 2020, she was awarded the Rome Prize and the Berlin Prize, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Fiction in 2022. Her fiction has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Conjunctions, and Guernica, among others, and other writing has appeared in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, Tin House, n+1, and The Guardian. She is an assistant professor at the New School and lives in Colorado and NYC.
Kathryn Miles is the author of five books including, most recently, Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders, which was named a 2022 best book by the New York Times and is currently in development as a six-part streaming series. Her essays and articles have appeared in publications including Audubon, The Best American Essays, The Best American Sports Writing, Ecotone, the New York Times, Outside, Politico, and Time. A longtime professor of creative nonfiction and environmental writing, Miles was the director of the environmental writing program at Unity College and the editor in chief of Hawk & Handsaw: The Journal of Creative Sustainability. She currently teaches in the Eastern Oregon University creative writing MFA program and for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. She also serves as a scholar in residence for the Maine Humanities Council. When she’s not working on a writing project, Kate enjoys spending her time trail running and sailing near her home in coastal Maine.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of the New York Times bestselling illustrated collection of nature essays, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments. She also wrote four previous poetry collections, including Oceanic. Her most recent chapbook is Lace & Pyrite, a collaboration of epistolary garden poems with the poet Ross Gay. Honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, a Mississippi Arts Council grant, and being named a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry. She is poetry editor for Sierra magazine, the storytelling arm of Sierra Club. She is a professor of English and creative writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program, and her forthcoming book of food essays is called Bite by Bite (Ecco, May 2024).
Katrina Vandenberg is the author of two books of poems, The Alphabet Not Unlike the World and Atlas. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, The American Scholar, Poets & Writers, and other magazines. She is a frequent contributor of essays to Orion. One of these was honored as notable in Best American Essays; another received a Pushcart Prize. She has received fellowships from the McKnight, Bush, and Fulbright Foundations, and held residencies at the Amy Clampitt House, the Poetry Center, and the MacDowell Colony. After decades of teaching and serving as the poetry editor of Water~Stone Review, she recently stepped back from her work as a tenured professor in the Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University and is currently a full-time writer and mom.
Tuition and Board: Tuition is $1200 ($1100 early bird rate if you register by March 15th). Additional room and board fees vary based on your choice of accommodation and range from $495-1500.
When successful applicants call Omega, they will be given various housing options for their 5-day stay, including private cabins, dorm rooms, and tent space. Fees are all-inclusive and include three meals a day, optional daily classes in yoga, meditation, and tai chi, and access to amenities like tennis courts, a basketball court, walking trails, boating on the lake, the Ram Dass Library, the Sanctuary for meditation and an Omega Art Bag with art supplies for drawing or painting.
The campus also offers a Wellness Center with massage and other services for an additional cost.
Meals: The Omega Institute offers local, organic, sustainable, nutrient-dense, artisanal, and whole-food meals, and is able to accommodate a variety of tastes, dietary needs, and food allergies.
As much as you want to share! We love hearing about your background, career, hobbies, relationship to literature and the environment, why you’re drawn to an Orion workshop, and anything else. Knowing a bit about you helps with class matchmaking, and gives staff a head start on casual mealtime conversation.
You can find a sample schedule here, subject to change.
Check-in on Sunday, and runs 4-7 pm. Dinner is available that evening and there will be a brief little welcome/orientation beginning around 7:30 pm.
The daily broad strokes Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday are that class workshops run after breakfast, 9-12 daily (Friday morning, too), followed by lunch and free time/writing time/ individual conferences/opportunities to chat with Orion staff at the campus café. Each afternoon there will be a professional panel or discussion open to everyone, and every evening after dinner there will be a public reading (faculty on Monday and Tuesday, students on Wednesday and Thursday). We're mixing things up a little in 2024, and Wednesday will be a different kind of day, TBA soon. Please get in touch with us if you have questions or concerns.
Morning workshop sessions run until noon on Friday, followed by lunch if you'd like it. Plan to depart campus at 1 pm that afternoon.
You will receive a more precise schedule as we get closer to the event.
You will be assigned to a particular instructor’s workshop and your group will meet for a three-hour session four mornings. Most workshops feature a mix of craft talks, readings, manuscript review, and generative prompts.
Each workshop has no more than twelve students.
Probably not. Your instructor will be in touch ahead of the event with information regarding class expectations. You may be asked to bring a piece you’re already working on (which could be your writing sample) to the workshop (or your one-on-one), but instructors may also focus on new work generated during class.
Sure. We suggest sending what you feel is your strongest work.
Yes, and we try to honor first and second choices as much as possible. That said, we put a lot of thought into group dynamics as we fill our classes, so we also encourage you to simply apply and see where you end up.
If your application is accepted, Orion will send an email on how to contact Omega to officially claim your spot. Omega handles all payments and housing selections. You will be asked to claim your spot and register within four weeks of acceptance (or by the registration deadline if that falls sooner than four weeks from acceptance). For the early bird registration rate please register by March 15th. We ask everyone to officially register by May 10th.
Try here first, then call the Omega help desk at 877-944-2002 if you still have questions.
We do have some partial tuition scholarships available in limited quantities. If you would like to be considered for one, mention it in your cover letter with a statement of need, and apply by March 1st. We will read all requests for aid together before making any final decisions.
More questions related to Orion workshops? Contact us here.